Castlewood Eating Disorder Treatment Center Blog

Category Archives: Anorexia Nervosa

What is Normalized Eating? Balancing Nourishment and Pleasure

There is a term that we often use in eating disorder recovery—normalized eating. It certainly sounds good, but what does it mean? The first thing to understand is that, for those who struggle with an eating disorder, the experience of eating is attended by intense shame and anxiety. It is a normal, everyday thing for most of us, but for those who have an eating disorder, eating a meal can be imprisoning. That is what makes it so important to provide a new relationship to food and to eating—what we call normalized. Normalized eating means you get to enjoy your…

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What are the Health Consequences of Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are commonly classified as mental illnesses—and rightly so: They are seldom really about food or eating, but rather stem from trauma, stress, and other psychological motivators. And yet, though they may be psychological at their root, their effects can be decidedly physical. Complications from Eating Disorders Indeed, eating disorders can lead to a number of bodily complications—including some serious and even life-threatening health consequences. As an example, consider some of the health consequences of anorexia nervosa: Abnormally slow heart rate and low blood pressure Reduction of bone density Muscle loss and weakness Severe dehydration, sometimes leading to kidney…

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How Do Eating Disorders Affect the Heart?

Eating disorders are serious—even life-threatening. That’s because eating disorders are never really about food, nor are they merely about body image or self-esteem. Eating disorders are all-encompassing in their destruction; they have a savage effect on body and mind alike. That includes a negative effect on the cardiovascular system, putting eating disorder patients at a much higher risk for potentially fatal heart disease. That’s an ill effect of eating disorders that often goes unmentioned, yet it’s critical to understand the ways in which eating disorders take their toll on the body. And since February is American Heart Month, there is…

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The Anna Westin Anorexia Intervention Bill

A new bipartisan Anorexia Intervention Bill (HR 2515.) was introduced this month, named for Anna Westin, a woman who battled anorexia for five years and died in 2000 at the age of 21. Although she sought treatment and asked for help, one of the contributing factors to Anna’s anorexia and death related to the lack of adequate care provided by her insurance company, the high cost of treatment, and the lack of knowledge and understanding about eating disorders. The Westin Family’s opened The Anna Westin House, September 29, 2002 in Chaska, Minnesota in an effort to promote more research for…

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Surviving an Eating Disorder

For many who struggle with an eating disorder, there can times when it’s not clear if they’re going to make it. Despite this, people sometimes still think of anorexia like a phase. Anorexia Nervosa is a very serious mental illness that carries with it dramatic physical effects and catastrophic mental and emotional distress. Alicia Nickelson, who shared her story with the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, can attest to the seriousness of the condition. Officially diagnosed at the age of 15, she can date her behaviors back to age 12 when she began limiting sugars and fatty…

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Goodbye Anorexia, Hello Life!

Alumni Testimonial: Writing in Recovery Goodbye Anorexia, Hello Life: How God Helped Me Finally Find Myself and Embrace Living Loved, Healthy, and Whole

My name is Allison Bryant. I am 37 years old and have suffered from anorexia most of my life. It all started around age 11, continuing as an ongoing nightmare for 25 years, and at age 36 nearly ended my life. However, with God’s help, I am now in recovery and have finally embraced living loved, healthy and whole. I was in and out of eating disorder treatment centers numerous times since age 21. I went to inpatient treatment centers all over the U.S., some multiple times even within the same year. Although these were all good treatment centers, the…

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Stages of Change & the Key to Avoiding Eating Disorder Relapse

The psychological science behind the phenomenon of change can be used to effectively treat those with eating disorders. Change doesn’t happen overnight. More like a serpentine path than one that moves in a sharply linear manner, the recovery process from an eating disorder involves three primary stages of behavioral change. By successfully making behavioral changes, it is easier to accept and move beyond a single slip or lapse in the recovery process that may lead to a full relapse. Some researchers view the three primary phases of behavioral change in eating disorder recovery as: Motivation and commitment Early change Maintenance…

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research indidcates significant

Research Indicates Significant Brain Patterns in Anorexics

New studies based on brain images of people suffering from eating disorders indicate the basis of anorexia nervosa – the disease of self-starvation and obsession with weight – may lie in brain functions. Anorexia, a chronic condition that poses a high fatality risk if ignored, typically poses challenges in treatment. Brain imaging studies may pave the way to a long-desired breakthrough, as researchers explore the neurobiology of anorexia. Shift in perspective Instead of merely recognizing and attempting to treat symptoms of anorexia, brain imaging redirects the focus to the “why” of food avoidance. As studies continue, medical professionals may be…

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Eating disorders have distinct symptoms

Eating Disorders have Distinct Symptoms

Everywhere we turn; we see and hear messages about body image. Advertisements for diet methods come at us rapid-fire, and seductive photos of ultra-thin females and muscle-bound men lead us to believe that looks will bring happiness. Television and billboards geared to our taste buds lead us quickly to high fat, high sugar foods. A person’s weight alone does not signify an eating disorder, but certain behaviors and symptoms can point to a problem. General categories The three most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge eating, also called compulsive overeating. All of them involve obsession with food,…

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